New Olympic boss will tough it out

Irish Independent - Business Week - - COMMERCIAL PROPERTY -

JFK’S fa­ther, Joe Kennedy, was cred­ited with coin­ing the phrase that when the go­ing gets tough, the tough get go­ing. Olympic Coun­cil of Ire­land (OCI) pres­i­dent Sarah Keane was up for it as she ad­dressed a sem­i­nar or­gan­ised by the On­side spon­sor­ship agency and the Mar­ket­ing In­sti­tute in the Aviva Sta­dium.

Keane be­gan with a con­trite plea, “for­give me Fa­ther, for I have sinned”. She ad­mit­ted the OCI is a toxic brand, but the new regime is de­ter­mined to change things.

The for­mer Swim Ire­land CEO and in­ter­na­tional polo player, who left her job with Mathe­son solic­i­tors, has no qualms about go­ing against the tide in a bid to re­store con­fi­dence in Ir­ish sport and do away with the ‘stroke cul­ture’. “We ac­knowl­edge the sins – and they are sins,” Keane in­sisted, “but if you’re re­silient, you man­age things bet­ter. We’ve still a long way to go in terms of morals and gov­er­nance. I’d like to think peo­ple be­lieve in me as I try to be open and frank.”

Keane said resilience is pro­moted through val­ues and cre­at­ing a sense of be­long­ing. Sport helps peo­ple cope with what life throws at them and over­take su­per­fi­cial things by be­ing around peo­ple who strive to be their best. Ire­land has about 70 dif­fer­ent sports and while many of them have been around for years, wider ac­cess is far bet­ter now.

She re­minded spon­sors of the op­por­tu­ni­ties mi­nor­ity sports of­fer. Rights costs less and the re­wards can be size­able for brands back­ing the likes of bad­minton and Ire­land’s top player Scott Evans.

While fund­ing for Ir­ish sport is fo­cused on im­prove­ments in in­fra­struc­ture, Keane said the OCI aims to raise the bar by gen­er­at­ing more money for new ini­tia­tives and events.

Dur­ing a Q&A ses­sion with RTÉ sports re­porter Joanne Cantwell, Gal­way hurler Joe Can­ning – who topped the On­side poll as Ire­land’s most mar­ketable sports stars – said he’s care­ful about what he says to the me­dia as some jour­nal­ists are only in­ter­ested in sen­sa­tion­al­is­ing things to get clicks on so­cial me­dia.

Can­ning (29) fronts for four brands – Audi, Bord Gáis En­ergy, Red Bull and Unicef. He will soon head to Syria to help raise aware­ness for chil­dren in­jured and left des­ti­tute in the bat­tle­ground city of Aleppo.

Q Sadly, top-qual­ity ra­dio ads aren’t some­thing with which Ir­ish ad­ver­tis­ing is syn­ony­mous. While we’re a na­tion of sto­ry­tellers, we just don’t seem to be able to crack the art of great ra­dio ads – mes­sages which catch the imag­i­na­tion and prompt con­sumers into ac­tion. One of the few mem­o­rable ra­dio ads air­ing these days is the se­ries for ‘Love Ir­ish Food’ cre­ated by Owen­sDDB.

Alas, help may be at hand. Ac­claimed ra­dio writer and pro­ducer Paul Burke will talk about the im­por­tance of cre­at­ing en­gag­ing ads across all chan­nels, but par­tic­u­larly for ra­dio, at the Novem­ber AAI Tool­kit break­fast sem­i­nar. The Lon­don-based creative with Ir­ish roots will also dis­cuss the im­pact of sound in TV and ra­dio ads.

Burke will talk about what makes a great ra­dio ad, what makes a bad one and will play plenty of ex­am­ples of each. Ranked as the world’s most awarded ra­dio writer and pro­ducer, Burke has given sim­i­lar talks at the Sharks in­ter­na­tional creative fes­ti­val in Kin­sale. But this is a chance for ad­ver­tis­ers and agency ‘suits’ to hear Burke at close quar­ters. Burke’s AAI break­fast talk is in Core Me­dia at 8.15am on Tues­day, Novem­ber 28.

Q RTÉ’s 2FM mu­sic sta­tion had strong re­sults in daily lis­ten­ers for the first time in seven years, while To­day FM re­mains ahead on mar­ket share, the lat­est JNLR book shows.

The re­sults co­in­cide with Sim­ply Great Cof­fee from the Topaz Re.Store fore­court shops sign­ing up as spon­sor of 2FM’s Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene.

The show airs week­days from 10am to 1pm and av­er­ages 151,000 daily lis­ten­ers. Bro­kered by Core Me­dia’s Livewire spon­sor­ship agency, the six­month deal in­cludes 50 x 10 spon­sor cred­ited stings each week, and 18 x spon­sor-cred­ited pro­mo­tional spots across the 2FM sched­ule, pod­cast and home­page.

Q Ire­land’s first one-day de­sign lead­ers’ con­fer­ence takes place in the Light House Cinema in Dublin’s Smith­field next Thurs­day. A panel of speak­ers will dis­cuss top­ics like hir­ing, re­ward­ing and re­tain­ing tal­ent. A client panel will de­bate what de­fines a suc­cess­ful two-way re­la­tion­ship. The con­fer­ence is or­gan­ised by brand­ing con­sul­tant An­drew Bradley, who now chairs the IDI De­sign En­ter­prise Skill­net.

Q Dis­cov­ery Com­mu­ni­ca­tions’

Eu­rosport has se­cured Bridge­stone tyres as its Euro­pean part­ner for cov­er­age of next year’s Win­ter Olympics from PyeongChang in South Korea. It‘s the first time a brand has linked up with the Olympics in Eu­rope by part­ner­ing with just one broad­caster. Eu­rosport has of­fi­cial Win­ter Olympics pay TV rights, with RTÉ sub-li­cens­ing the freeto-air fran­chise.

Michael Cullen is ed­i­tor of Mar­ket­ing. ie; cullen@mar­ket­

Pic­tured with Nicky Byrne and Jenny Greene is Topaz mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Judy Glover. Be­low, Sarah Keane off the Olympic Coun­cil of Ire­land who ad­mits it is a toxic brand

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